Introduction to Azure Active Directory Domain Services:

We have discussed  Azure Active Directory basics at length in our earlier article. Now, we will introduce you to Domain Services of Azure Active Directory.

Azure Active Directory Domain Services allow you to access cloud-based applications available in the on-premise  IT Infrastructure of an enterprise for its data transactions and operations.

This Azure product by Microsoft allows you to run your applications on Azure virtual machines. You work on a virtual network on Microsoft's cloud infrastructure using the latest authentication protocols and without deploying domain controllers.

Admins can grant machine access to AAD tenants and users  can access the applications through their existing official login credentials. Azure AD Domain Services provide managed domain services such as domain join for machines in Azure, application of group policy, read-only  LDAPaccess, Kerberos/NTLM authentication, etc. These services are fully compatible with Windows Server Active Directory and are easy to deploy.

Azure AD Domain Service

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Azure Active Directory Domain Services Features

  1. Deploy Azure AD Domain Services with ease, regardless of your Azure AD tenant.
  2. Supports domain-join automated in the Azure virtual network 
  3. Custom named domains along with the built-in suffix (i.e. *.onmicrosoft.com) offered by your Azure AD directory.
  4. No need to configure or manage user accounts, group memberships, and user credentials (passwords). 
  5. Automatic synchronization of your Azure AD directory to Azure AD Domain Services.
  6. Rely on Windows authentication by deploying NTLM and Kerberos authentication.
  7. Corporate credentials/passwords for all your users in your organization are synced for their interactions.
  8. Built-in health monitoring offers guaranteed service uptime and failure prevention with the help of automated remedy alerts for your domain.
  9. Integrate with any popular management tools LDAP.
  10. One can shut down the system to update the domain controller and restart it.
  11. Fine-grained password policies allow creating multiple passwords for accounts and apply different restrictions in a single domain.
  12. Offline defragmentation of tasks in the Active Directory database can also be completed without restarting the domain controller.
  13. Read-only LDAP access.
  14. Kerberos/ NTML  kind of authentication protocols are used for authorization monitoring.

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Working of Azure Active Directory Domain Services

Azure Active Directory Domain Services integrate with your existing applications and migrated workloads to provide identity services in the cloud. A pair of Windows Server domain controllers manage the Azure Virtual Machines to provide you with a synchronized hybrid environment. The domain services perform one-way synchronization from on-premise directory to the Azure Ad tenant using Azure AD Connect. The resources created on Azure Domain Services are not synced with Azure AD Directory Services.

You can also deploy Azure Active Directory Domain Services for cloud-only organizations by positioning a Virtual Network and a dedicated subnet within it. Microsoft creates two Domain Controllers in the subnet and allows you to use Azure AD Domain Services features like domain join, LDAP read, LDAP bind, Group Policy and authentication of NTLM and Kerberos. Configuration of Azure AD Connect is not required as there is no need for identity synchronization.  

Functions of Azure AD Domain Services

The essential functions of Azure AD Domain Services include: 

  • Secure Object store
  • Object organization using Organizational Units, Domains and Forests
  • Common Authentication and Authorization provider
  • LDAP, NTLM, Kerberos authentication
  • Group Policy
  • Customizable Schema

Azure Active Directory Domain Services for an Enterprise

  1. Own Infrastructure as Service-Based computing.customers can use a domain-based service and reduce the cost involved in setting up a virtual machine.
  2. Customers can deploy their IT Infrastructure custom modules across all their premises.
  3. Per Hour based pricing option is available which is useful for small size directories.
  4. Data centres of an enterprise are globally distributed.
  5. Data is centrally managed and processed in a highly secured environment.

Microsoft Azure Tutorial

Related Page: Azure DNS

Source:

AAD Domain Services Set Up can be done in 4 simple steps:

  1. Creating AAD DC Administrators.
  2. Setting up a virtual network and its subnet.
  3. Configure DNS settings
  4. Creation of User credentials

AAD Domain Services Set Up

Thus, Azure Active Domain Services provides a” DO IT YOURSELF” approach to all kinds of application deployment. The applications can be deployed on a cloud server with a standard cloud domain so that your on-premises AD environment is completely separate. With just simple cloud credentials you can deploy multiple applications with a single virtual machine.

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If your Infrastructure requires you to create connect your Azure resources to on-premises network, then also you can do it by creating duplicate domain controllers or creating Expressroute connection that will not disturb the actual network firewall.

Benefits of Azure Active Directory Domain Services

  • The simple deployment process allows the Azure AD tenant to enable AAD DS services using a single wizard in the Azure portal.
  • Seamless integration with Azure Active Directory Services allows automatic synchronization of users, groups, and credentials.
  • Easy authentication of login credentials allows users to use their corporate credentials to sign-in on the Azure AD DS managed domain.
  • Multiple domain controllers provide high availability, guaranteed service uptime, automatic backup, and failure resilience.

Conclusion:

Modern organizations are leveraging the best authentication solutions. Azure Active Directory Domain Services are managed by Microsoft so they offer you limited control of the domain and do not require patching of domain controllers.

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